Monday, June 18, 2018

Monday Morning Inspiration/Oscar and a Bucket List

A few weeks back, I shared the summer bucket list that my husband found folded up and laying on the ground in an alley. He brought it home, thinking that I would enjoy seeing it, and I did :) I especially love the simplicity of the list. Everything is achievable within the course of the summer. I also loved the idea of being excited about the possibilities of the summer. When was the last time I was excited about the summer?!! This simple little bucket list inspired me to do my own. You can find my original post HERE

I decided that my bucket list needed to be special, not just written out on a piece of typing paper. So, I sat down and painted the picture below.  

I did not write on my original painting, but rather copied it on to a piece of paper that I will mount on a piece of poster board. Below is my list. So far, 2 things have been checked off. I really wanted to see 2001: A Space Odyssey for the 50th anniversary. That kicked off my summer as we saw it on Memorial Day, for me, the official beginning of summer. We have a wonderful theater in Chicago called The Music Box where they play all sorts of international films and art films. It was there that we saw the movie.
There's a great German delicatessen in Chicago called Gene's Sausage Shop and Delicatessen. When you walk through the door, you feel as though you have been transported to Germany. They have a rooftop beer and wine garden where I have wanted to eat since they opened, but have neglected to. It finally happened last Friday night. I loved it!

As you can see, I've tweaked the list to my own liking, but all things that I would like to do, and if I didn't have the list to remind me, I just might let them slip. What a fun project this has been. So much so that I am inspired to make a list for fall and winter.

Now for some fashion inspiration...

I recently came across the picture below. This lovely dress is from the Oscar de la Renta 2019 Resort collection.

So many of the pieces are just fresh and fun.  

I especially love the plaid coat on the left below.

And I found the brown stripes to be refreshing.

The shorts on the left below are such fun with the contrasting pockets. I thought the short suit on the right was lovely too! 

The design of the pieces is really nothing new, but I just love how pieces are paired. 

I thought both of the gowns below were especially pretty. You can see all of the collection HERE.  

If you would like to make your own bucket list, you are welcome to print off my little piece of artwork :)

I also put together the piece below that can be printed off if you like. Just a nice reminder to write down our dreams to make them a reality. 

Have a wonderful week!

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sunday Night Reflections

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Sunday's Salad/Goddess of Greens Salad, and a Refreshing Drink

Having a 'coke' was a treat when I was growing up, not something we drank on a daily basis. My fondest memories of drinking a soft drink were after our weekly afternoon of swimming. We were treated to the soft drink of our choice, and a bag of chips. I feel like a stone-age leftover saying this, but when I was growing up, chips did not come in the humongous bags that they do now. What we ate would be considered a very small bag by today's standards. But, after an afternoon of swimming, a soft drink and a bag of chips was such a treat. 

Truth be told, I still enjoy a soft drink from time to time. Yes, I know all about the bad things in a soft drink. I feel this way, everything in moderation. But, my go to drink in the summer time is a refreshing drink made with hibiscus tea. The natural red color of the blossoms is so inviting. 

I really like Mighty Leaf teas, and order the teas I drink directly from the company. You can find their site HERE. Sign up for emails as they have some wonderful specials, like putting their teas on sale for half off.

I brew the tea in a pitcher, usually 6 tea bags. I allow the tea to brew for at least 30 minutes. Once brewed, remove the teabags and allow the tea to cool. Once cooled, I add 1 orange sliced, 1 lemon sliced, and about 2" of fresh peeled and sliced ginger. Store in the refrigerator overnight to allow the juice to infuse the tea. If you would like to sweeten the tea, add stevia to taste. 
Serve in a pretty glass. Garnish with a slice of orange,and enjoy. If you would like some bubbles, add club soda, or sparkling water. For parties, mix the tea with some Prosecco for a refreshing cocktail. 

I can go through an entire pitcher during the course of the day, and to be honest, the thought of a soft drink never crosses my mind. So if you would like to try and cut down on your soft drink consumption, give my Hibiscus Tea recipe a try. I think you'll love it!    

I have been planning to share this salad with you for the last few weeks. If I say so myself, it is OMG good!

We'll begin with the salad dressing;

Begin by roasting 2 poblano peppers. It can be done in the oven with the broiler, or outside on a grill. Roast until blackened. Once roasted, place the peppers in a plastic bag for 15 minutes to steam. Remove and pull off the blackened skin, and seeds.    

Place the skinned peppers in a blender along with 1/2 an avocado, 1 clove of garlic, 1 egg yolk, Dijon mustard, buttermilk, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and olive oil.  Blend to form a green cloud of deliciousness. 

Chop or tear up 4 cups of kale and place in a salad bowl. Top the kale with 4 sliced radishes, 1/2 cup of cooked red quinoa, and 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds. This can be done ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for a few hours until ready to serve.

 Pour 1/3 of the salad dressing over the salad, and mix well. Top the salad with 1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese, and mix into the salad.

Serve the salad with extra dressing on the side. Believe me, it's so good, you'll want to add a little more. A friend of mine said that she could eat the dressing like soup!

Since kale holds up in the refrigerator, the leftovers are wonderful the following day for lunch. 

Goddess of Greens Salad
printable recipe

2 Poblano peppers
1 egg yolk
1/2 avocado
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
1/3 to 1/2 cup buttermilk
3 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups olive oil

Roast poblano peppers in the broiler or on the grill until skin is blackened, about 10 minutes. Place in plastic bag and allow to steam for 15 minutes. Remove from bag, remove blackened skin and seeds. Place in blender along with egg yolk, garlic, mustard, buttermilk, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper. Blend. While blender is running, slowly pour in the olive oil. If a thinner consistency is desired, add more buttermilk. 

4 cups kale chopped or torn
4  red radishes sliced
1/2 cup cooked red quinoa
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Place kale, radishes, red quinoa, and pumpkin seeds in a large salad bowl. Pour 1/3rd of the dressing over the salad, and toss well to mix. Top with the feta cheese, toss once again, and serve. 

The leftover dressing will last refrigerated for at least 3 days. It's good as a dip for carrot and celery sticks, too! 


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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Making An Old Dream Come To Pass With a New Pair Of Kicks

About 6 weeks ago, I took a sneaker class at the Chicago School of Shoemaking and Leather Arts. I had so much fun! I especially enjoyed being the student :)

Below is my work in progress. The shoe that you see at the top of the photo was my inspiration piece. Below the shoe, you see my pattern, tools, and my shoe in pieces.

The class was 2 full days of instruction. I made a mistake on one of my shoes while attaching the top of my shoe to the sole. At that point in the day, I was quite tired, and ready for a break, so I elected to just finish my shoe at home. Last Sunday I finally sat down, redid the stitching, finished the shoe, and ordered my laces.

Ta Daa!!! My finished sneakers. I love them!!!

I have never been a big sneaker person, but these are not typical sneakers. Thankfully, my husband and I don't wear the same size shoe, or I would lose these! 

Pure fun :)

I have no intention of making all of my shoes. It was just a fun class to take. A bit of a dream realized, well, almost. When I was maybe 8 years old, my shoe wardrobe consisted of a pair of shoes to wear to church, a pair of sneakers, and a pair of school shoes. And there were times when all I had was a pair of sneakers. I so wanted a pair of cute sandals, so I decided that maybe I could make a pair. I found some cardboard, glued a few layers together. Between the layers, I glued some heavy string, punched holes through the top layers, and made the loops to hold my "sandals" on my feet. After all the work I did, I was so proud of what I had fashioned. They lasted about half a day before they completely fell apart. I never would have dreamed that I would one day own a pair of leather sneakers. Life does get better :)

Here's to realizing our dreams!

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Thoughts On My Studio Cleanup Journey

There's a beautiful story about 2 famous basketball players, Charles Barkley, and Moses Malone. Charles Barkley was the #5 pick of the 1984 NBA draft. He felt he had the world by the tail, and that he would take the NBA by storm. He weighed in at close to 300 pounds, and was shocked to find himself sitting on the bench with limited opportunities to play. He approached Moses Malone for some guidance. Malone pulled no punches, he told him that he was fat and lazy. Brutal! He told Barkley to lose 10 pounds and meet him at the gym the next day. When he reached the goal of losing 10 pounds, Malone instructed him to lose another 10. The weight loss and workouts went on until Barkley weighed in at 255 pounds. Barkley asked Malone why he didn't tell him to lose close to 50 pounds when he first approached him. Malone replied that it was too big of a goal, 10 pounds was attainable. The relationship between Barkley and Malone remained so close that Barkley called Malone 'Dad' until Malone died. Barkley gave Moses Malone a beautiful tribute;

"He never said anything about what he did for me. Most guys when they mentor a young player like that, they go around saying, 'Yeah, that was me. I did that.' Not Moses. He never told anybody. And that was the best part."  

When I began cleaning up, and cleaning out my sewing studio, I cried to myself, "I can never buy another piece of fabric for as long as I live!!!" Then, I thought about the Barkley/Malone story, and realized that I was setting myself up for failure. So, I made a smaller, more obtainable goal, no new fabric shopping until August 1st. That was a 3 month goal, and one that I felt I could do. So far, so good :) But...whew!, in the last week or so, I have REALLY wanted to go to a fabric store. What helps a lot, is going into my studio and cleaning up a space, or a drawer. That's enough of a reminder, and the bonus is that I get excited about something that I want to make.

I did another little exercise that was rather difficult. I went through my fabric, pulled out 5 pieces that I love, and put them in a bag. A friend of mine and I had made a date for tea. I took the bag with me, handed it to her and told her that she could have all, some, or none, it was her choice. I then explained that these were pieces that I love, so not castoffs. She took all but 1 piece. As I sat there and watched her go through the fabric, I'll be honest, I thought of all the wonderful things I could do with it, but I held tight. A day later, she sent me a picture of a fun shirt she had made to wear with tights, using a piece of the fabric that I had given her. I could not have been happier! She was happy, I was happy, and it was all because I let go. 

I then decided to take my exercise a step further. I invited another friend to come by, go through my fabric and choose a few pieces that she would like to have and felt she could use. As I sat there and watched her touch the fabric, I cringed a bit, but once again, I held tight, and let her choose what she wanted. And guess what?!!, as much as I cringed, I can't remember exactly which pieces she took!!! And even better, she left excited about her new projects. 

My fabric diet is not music to any fabric shop owner's ears, but it is a journey that I am happy that I have embarked upon. At this point, I am learning to let go, and use what I have. 

I hope the Barkley/Malone story will inspire you in some way, It's one of my favorites, but then, I really like Charles Barkley. He makes me laugh :)

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Monday, June 11, 2018

Monday Morning Inspiration/Embellishment, Creativity and Design

Happy Monday!!!
I thought I would begin the week with a lovely picture. A few weeks ago, my husband and I had walked to a restaurant in our neighborhood to have dinner. On our way home, we encountered this dog sleeping blissfully on his front porch. Talk about the epitome of peace and tranquility. 

Just about a month ago, I did a Monday Morning Inspiration post on embellishment. I included the picture below and asked if anyone knew who created this magnificent piece. Elina sent a note and said that it belongs to an incredible Russian designer/seamstress by the name of Anastasia Shtubina. Elina also included links to Anastasia's blog and Instagram page. 

As I scrolled through Anastasia's work, I was blown away by her creativity and attention to detail. 

The coat below is such a lovely mix of fabrics and trims. She even added the embroidery detail to the cuffs. So amazing!

I love how she added the lace detail to this jacket, and even carried it into the inside neckline. 

Here she embroidered the flower detail on to the jacket. Her attention to detail even travels to the inside of the jacket with the finished seams.

Below, she took the same iris detail that she used on the coat, but did it in color and transformed a basic t-shirt into a truly couture piece. 

Talk about over the top gorgeous!!! The detail on this sheath is simply breathtaking.

The lace trim along the hem of this top is lovely, but the added smocking on the sleeves makes it fresh and fun.

I am beyond inspired! 
Be sure to take a look at Anastasia's Instagram page, and follow her as well. There are so many lovely pieces there...so many. Her work is a prime example of what can be happen when we slow down a bit, and rather than just sew up a garment, we take the time to create.You can find Anastais's blog HERE.  

Have a wonderfully creative week!

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Sunday, June 10, 2018